♥ When a child is choking

First of all, DON'T PANIC

Step 1: 
Assess the situation calmly but quickly.

If your baby appears to be choking because he/she is quiet, not crying unable to cough, something might be blocking his/her airway, and you'll need to help him/her get it out. Your child might be making odd noises or no sound at all while opening his/her mouth. Your child's face and skin may turn red or blue. If your baby is gagging or coughing it means his/her airway is only partially blocked. If that's the case, let him/her continue to cough. 
Coughing is the body’s instinctive way of trying to naturally dislodge a blockage. If the baby isn't able to cough up the object, ask someone to call 911 or the local emergency number while you begin back blows and chest thrusts as demonstrated below in Step 2.

If you're alone with the baby, give two minutes of care, then call 911. However, if you suspect the baby's airway is closed because his/her throat has swollen shut, call 911 immediately. He/she may be having an anaphylactic allergic reaction to food or to an insect bite, for example.

Note: call 911 right away if the baby is at high risk for heart problems or if  the baby has suddenly collapsed.

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Step 2: 
Attempt to dislodge the object with back blows and chest thrusts.

Implement back blows FIRST - Never put your finger in the baby's mouth unless you actually see an object blockage. If a baby is conscious but can't cough, cry, or breathe and you think something might be trapped in his/her airway, carefully position him/her face-up on one forearm, cradling the back of his/her head with that hand. Place your other hand and forearm on baby's front so he/she is sandwiched between your forearms. 

Use your thumb and fingers to hold baby’s jaw (not neck/throat) and turn him/her over so that baby is facedown along your forearm. Lower your arm onto your thigh so that the baby's head is lower than his/her chest. With the heel of your hand, give baby’s back five 5 sturdy back blows between the baby's shoulder blades to try to dislodge the object. Maintain support of baby’s head and neck by firmly holding his/her jaw (not neck/throat) between your thumb and forefinger.

If the object doesn’t come out, position your free hand (the one that had been delivering the back blows) on the back of baby's head with your arm along his/her spine. Carefully turn baby over while keeping your other hand and forearm pressed on his/her front.

Administer chest thrusts:

Use your thumb and fingers to hold the baby's jaw (not neck/throat) while sandwiching him/her between your forearms to support his/her head and neck. Lower your arm that is supporting baby’s back onto your thigh, still keeping the head lower than the rest of his/her body.

Place the pads of two fingers in the center of the baby's chest, just below an imaginary line running between baby's nipples. (the nipple line) To do a chest thrust, push straight down on the chest about 1 1/2 inches. Then allow the chest to come back to its normal position.

Apply five chest thrusts. Keep your fingers in contact with the baby's breastbone. The chest thrusts should be firm yet smooth, not jolting.

Repeat back blows and chest thrusts:
Continue alternating five back blows and five chest thrusts until the object is forced out or the baby starts to cough forcefully, cry, breathe, or becomes unresponsive. If the baby is coughing, let him/her try to cough up the object.

If the baby becomes unresponsive:
If a baby who is choking on something becomes unconscious, lower the baby to the ground and start CPR (see my blog page titled: How to Perform Infant CPR). After each set of compressions and before attempting rescue breaths, open the baby's mouth, look for the blockage and remove the object if you can.

Again: Never put your finger in the baby's mouth unless you actually see an object blockage. If you can't see an object and you put your finger in baby’s mouth, you risk accidentally pushing the object deeper into his/her throat causing total blockage and more severe choking. If you can see a blockage, attempt to remove it by doing a "finger sweep" with your little finger.

Continue the sequence until the child revives or help arrives.

 Disclaimer: This CPR and choking instruction is from The Red Cross. Please keep in mind that I am not a nurse, doctor or medical professional. I am simply recounting my own experiences to share on this blog. Anything I share here should not be taken as medical advice. Please consult with your doctor or pediatrician with any questions you may have. I provide advice, tips and opinions as a courtesy for my readers. I expressly disclaim any and all liability with respect to any act or omission wholly or in part in reliance on anything contained in this website. Thank you.

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